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Old 12-01-2008, 06:34 PM   #1
wrx425
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Default Winter Tires vs. All Season Tires

Okay guys, so ive tried searching and haven't come up with anything good. If you find a link, please provide. I am wondering wether to buy all season or winter tires for my 02 wrx. I live in Washington, and usually we dont get THAT much snow, however the last couple of years we have had significant snow (5 inches plus) with A LOT of ice on the road. I also head up to the mountains to go snowboarding quite often during winter. I am wondering if winter tires would be worth the additional cost, or if I should be set with all season tires. Ive heard that All Seasons with plenty of tread should be good, but i dont want to get those and then find myself stuck in a ditch. Also, how many seasons do winter tires usually last you guys?
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:39 PM   #2
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Winter tires are definitely worth it.

I'm on the fifth season on my winters (although I should replace them as they're past the snow tread bars).
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:02 PM   #3
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If you get winter tires you can also get summer performance tires and have the best of both worlds. If you get all-seasons then you get second-rate tires all year round (unless you drive a lot on gravel in which case all-seasons in summer are better). In the long run having two sets of tires isn't that much more expensive then owning one set because they will last twice as long. You just need a second set of rims.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:10 PM   #4
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I was going to ask the same question as well. I too am in WA. Last winter I bought some winter tires for my civic, but ended up only going up to the pass once and I think that was the only time I actually drove in the snow. I'm still debating it right now. Not trying to thread jack, but how well do performance winter tires perform in 35-45 degree weather on the dry and wet road? I am asking because those are the normal temps for WA winters.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:23 PM   #5
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^^I have Dunlop D3 snows on and they perform quite well on dry roads and in warmer conditions. I actually tend to forget they are not all-seasons. But they are noticeably better than all-seasons in snow.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:57 PM   #6
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You could also go for a true all season like the Nokian WR G2. It's an all season compound molded into a performance snow tire tread. One of the few "snow-rated" all seasons available.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:07 PM   #7
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From what the OP wrote, I think A/S would do him fine. I lived with A/S tires and FWD for 5 years here (New York Metro Area) and never got stuck once, even venturing out in the worst conditions. That's not to say there weren't a few tense moments and you need to maybe be a bit more careful (comparing against the A/T tires and 4WD I had on my Toyota SUV, which was unstoppable even in the nasty winters of Northern Indiana).

I just did a lot of research recently and it seems that really good all seasons score almost as well as dedicated snow tires in moderate winter conditions (snow and ice < 4" - 6"). I ended up replacing my summer Dunlops with Continental UHPAS tires that got some very good winter scores. So far I am not disappointed with dry performance, have yet to test it in anything but a little slush. I simply can't justify keeping two sets of tires and switching between them at this point, but maybe in the future when I can have two sets of rims I'll go dedicated.

Sorry for the long post, but I wrestled with this and in the end I think it comes down to making decision weighing the cost and inconvenience of keeping two sets of tires vs the performance of summers and added safety of winters (the latter depends largely on how severe your climate is).

Edit: PS - Consumer reports just did UHPAS tires (which I assume you'd want for your WRX). Their testing and the reviews on the Tire Rack were very helpful in making the final decision.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:28 AM   #8
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It seems like this year there will be lots of snow again, and since you head up mountains to snowboard, I suggest you get some good snow tires. Steelies are not expensive, Rotas are a good choice too.

I rock the Nokian WR GR2 but my situation justifies me spending that much money on snow rated All-season tires. Long story so I won't get into it. They do surprisingly well but it is not a full snow/ice tire.

If I were in your situation, I would get snow tires.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:03 AM   #9
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The snow geared all-season compound tires like the Nokian WR and performance winter tires like the Blizzak LM-25 represent options that provide better then standard all-season winter traction and excellent dry road use and grip levels. This includes tires like the Dunlop Wintersport 3D, Goodyear Ultragrip GW3, Toyo Garret KX, Pirelli Sottozero 210/240/270, etc.

What's the best pick from the bunch? That depends on personal preference. They all do well and are highly versatile, but they all vary a little bit in performance and character that will make one a better pick for you. There in lies the challenge.

I ran the WR for some years and just recently stepped into a set of LM-25s heading towards my first winter with them. I've driven on (in other cars) Goodyear Ultragrip GW3, Blizzak WS-50, and Dunlop Wintersport M3. All of them have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it really comes down to a "best mix" option. I could pick a favorite for a specific condition but not really a universal favorite.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:53 AM   #10
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winter vs. All-Season click and see link
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:17 PM   #11
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The difference between winter and all-seasons is quite noticeable. Having said that, if you over cook it, you'll still end up stuck in a ditch.

Tire Rack, as everyone else has said, has some great round ups on tires. Nokians are also quite hot. The real difference will be with you summer tires. The difference between a summer performance tire (even one set up for heavy rain) and all-seasons is unbelievable.

I rock winter tires on my standard rims, so you certainly don't NEED two sets of rims, which can save you a considerable amount. Then again, a set of steelies wouldn't be a horrible idea for a WRX.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke@tirerack View Post
winter vs. All-Season click and see link

That's a comparison of one of the highest-rated studless ice/snow tire vs an oem, bottom-tier, all-season tire. I had those Turanza EL400's on my 07 civic and they were horrible in any type of condition.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdabbles View Post
I rock winter tires on my standard rims, so you certainly don't NEED two sets of rims, which can save you a considerable amount. Then again, a set of steelies wouldn't be a horrible idea for a WRX.
While it's probably not a big deal, I have heard that tires(beads) will start to "stretch" if you switch them too often. I would plan on a spare set of rims, or use your current rims for snow and get something new this spring. I live in SE PA, we get a few bad storms every year. I have NEVER used snows. I'm not knocking them (how can I, I've never used 'em) But AWD and a decent set of all seasons(ie stock bridgestone potenzas)...You'll be fine, unless you're offroading.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:56 PM   #14
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I used to think all season tires were "fine" in the winter, had an outback with a/s tires and it was fine. I never got stuck unless I was doing something stupid with it, sometimes the car would get sideways and skid on ice/slush around corners but the car always saved me. This year I bought a wrx and got a set of used haka rsi's for winter ($250, said they were used one season) and wow what a difference. I've been caught in two really bad storms so far with it and snow/winter tires are like night and day compared to a\s's. I will continue to use winter tires from now on in any car I drive in the winter because it makes such a difference. Not just in traction for snowy driveways, nasty backroads, but for times where your going around a corner and hit black ice, or a explorer decides it's going to flip over in front of you.(both happened this winter already) In situations like that I know that these winter tires have saved my car from becoming another "look what happened thread"
^just my $0.02, sorry about the novel.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:25 PM   #15
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX1Um...eature=related watch this video
although you probably wont be in that much snow as you stated..its always good to be safer than sorry.
Its not always about being able to drive around in snow, its also about being able to slowdown and stop earlier.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:31 PM   #16
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how much of a proven difference do winter tires make?

In the province of Quebec, it is now required by LAW that all vehicles must be equipped with snow tires in the winter. Mind you we get a lot of snow sometimes here in canada, but truth be told, it's not the 10 inches of snow you get in a snow storm. Those are the days you stay home, off the roads and let the plows do their jobs. (of course... after you go have a bit of fun)

But the danger is not in deep snow, you are stupid to think that any powertrain or tire is going to save you if you are being stupid. The greater dangers are in the 1 inch of snow near freezing, when it sort of melts and you have a quarter to half inch of slush on the roads. Slush is far, far worse than snow in terms of effecting your braking or turning power. Freezing rain is far, far worse than snow.

Slush combines hydroplaning with ice and snow, it's the worst of all winter conditions.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:46 PM   #17
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For a long time, I resisted the idea of getting winter/summer tires, thinking all-seasons had to be enough. I finally bought separate sets. Dear god, I was an idiot for waiting so long to do it. For winters, I got the Hankook Icebear W300s in the V rating. As expected, they are MUCH MUCH better than all-seasons in the snow, slush, ice, and rain. The bit that I didn't expect, though, was that they were better than my high-zoot Ultra High Performance all-seasons in the dry too! In every road condition, they're just flat out better than all-seasons.

The best part is that separate summer and winter sets of low-mid-range tires cost about the same (total) as a single set of UHP AS. The tires last longer (meaning they're much cheaper per mile) and perform better. It's a total win in every respect.
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:42 AM   #18
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If you're expecting to drive in snow during the winter months, then a dedicated snow tire is a must.

I run all-seasons (RE960s) during the winter months here in the NYC Tr-State area. When it snows, the roads are well plowed in my area and I don't ski, so I find that he all-seasons are fine for me.
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:00 PM   #19
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Seattle was my home and I still travel to and from fairly often. In the last 20 plus years I recall very few winters that demand snow/ice tire technology. I recently had the re092's die and I bought a set of "winter" tires, which in the NW usually consists of AS radials with a focus leaning toward wet traction. You can have them siped if you like. If you are commuting over either pass regularly or going up the mountain to go snowboarding a couple days a week for the whole season then I would personally buy snow specific tires. I went to Mt. Baker a lot and I wouldn't buy anything but snow tires, because I didn't want to risk cracking up my car. Spend your $600-$900 whichever way you feel is the most appropriate, then check in with what you got and how it works for what you do. Your location and your uses should dictate what you buy.
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:11 PM   #20
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Default me personally...

In a place that gets a good amount of snow every year, I would definitely say that it is worth it to get snow tires. I live in Texas, and here we might get a couple inches of snow a year and maybe some ice every now and then. Most of the time though, it is just cold, and then 2 days later it will be hot. So, for me it makes more sense to have all-season tires because they work pretty good in everything, and snow tires would get a little slippery when it starts to get hot. If I had snow tires here, I would be changing my tires every week.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:06 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zottyzot View Post
While it's probably not a big deal, I have heard that tires(beads) will start to "stretch" if you switch them too often. I would plan on a spare set of rims, or use your current rims for snow and get something new this spring. I live in SE PA, we get a few bad storms every year. I have NEVER used snows. I'm not knocking them (how can I, I've never used 'em) But AWD and a decent set of all seasons(ie stock bridgestone potenzas)...You'll be fine, unless you're offroading.
The problem with bead 'stretching' is real, and I've been told by a knowledgeable source, is compounded when 'low profile' tires, (such as those commonly found on the STi, WRX, etc.) are employed, & can result in premature wear &/or failure.
This is an interesting/valuable thread...tire selection, especially in the winter, probably has more influence then vehicle selection for the average driver, & for the enthusiast, should be job #1. AWD will get ya going sure enough, & that's pretty much where the advantage ends...as demonstrated by the hordes of SUV's seen pointing the wrong direction here in the NE, every time the snow falls. I've used both A/S and dedicated Snows on various vehicles including an Outback & an STi. For the typical (oxymoron alert!) Southern New England winter, e.g. 1-10 significant snow storms, interspersed w/ episodes of sleet/freezing rain/skating rink quality ice storms or 60 degree shirt sleeve-type days, anything but dedicated snows results in sub-par performance. For certain; A/S tires work in snow & ice, but which is better? If you've tried both, the answer is evident, & even alarming.
Brand/price selection is another story altogether, & I'm always looking for real-world opinions.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:48 PM   #22
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Summer tires are the best and in the winter the serious snows are the best so what do you want, second or third best on your ride? Dont waste time. You wont regret.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:34 PM   #23
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I have studded winters and all-season high performance tires.

I want to spread my tires out, if you know what I mean so I won't have one tire set doing it all.

Get a tire that's good for everything, you have a tire that's good at nothing.
Besides, you probably want to drive aggressively once in a while right?
Well, you don't want tires that a granny buick would decide on.
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